Blood Orange Cinnamon Rolls


I discovered the joy of cinnamon rolls in America. This breakfast dish soon became one of my favorites. Originally, I bought the cinnamon rolls that come in cans that allow you to simply pop them out and into your oven. Those have always been an easy favorite in our house but, I knew I had to figure out how to make these myself.

My recipe has been a work in progress over many bakes. I started experimenting with recipes and adding different ingredients each time. This latest version of the recipe is my favorite so far!

This version was created during the season of beautiful citrus. So why not play with one of the citrus flavors? The blood orange gives the frosting a nice pink color.

The addition of the blood orange zest in the flour, and the juice in the frosting, gives it that extra fresh flavor. I add the zest into the flour so that it doesn’t stick together and it spreads out evenly in the roll.

This will be in our weekend breakfast rotation for sure!  Adding the citrus was just what the recipe needed. I hope you will enjoy them as much as we did.



Blood Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Bread
Keyword: bloodorangecinnamonrolls, cinnamonrolls
Servings: 16
Author: Ester van Boesschoten



  • 1 3/4 Cups lukewarm water (85 Fahrenheit)
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup (if prefered can use cane sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 egg room temperature and lightly whisked
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 Cups unbleached all purpose flour *
  • 1 blood orange zested


  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon


  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoon blood orange juice



  • Combine the lukewarm water, maple syrup and yeast in a small bowl. Stir and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the whisked egg, coconut oil and the salt.
  • Sift the flour and stir in the blood orange zest until combined. I suggest you start with 4 cups of flour and add as needed.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients one cup at the time. You have added enough flour when the dough doesn’t stick to the side of the mixing bowl and is tacky, but does not stick to your fingers. Be careful not to add too much flour, or the dough will be to dry.*
  • When you have the right consistency with the dough, knead for 5 minutes in a stand mixer. Alternatively, you can knead it by hand if you prefer.
  • Cover the dough, set it in a draft free spot, and let it rise for 20-30 minutes or until it is doubled in size.


  • After the first rise, roll out your dough into a rectangle around 19” by 10”.
  • Softy spread the butter out on the rectangle. Then sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar. You may want to mix cinnamon and sugar up first in a bowl before sprinkling onto the dough.
  • Starting at the long side, tightly roll up the dough into a firm log. Roll the log seam side down. Using dental floss or thread to cut out 16 even-sized rolls.
  • Place the rolls on a greased baking dish or on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and let them rise a second time, for 30 minutes, or until they are doubled in size.


  • Preheat the oven 375 Farhenheit.
  • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 15-16 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Blood Orange Frosting

  • Combine all the frosting ingredients in a mixing bowl and carefully mix them together to form a light and fluffy frosting. The more blood orange juice you add the thinner the frosting will be.
  • When the cinnamon buns are still warm, gently put on the frosting. The amount of frosting depends on your taste preference. Enjoy!


* The amount of flour depends on where you live and type of flour used. On days it is super humid I tend to need more flour. Other days, it is freezing and dry and I need less flour. So be very careful, and add one cup of flour at a time. As you approach the right consistency add only 1/4th cup at a time.

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